CNA Staff, May 11, 2021 / 09:00 am
The Vatican has told the bishops of England and Wales that it is amending the Code of Canon Law so that “crimes against minors are considered under a different title than crimes against the obligations of celibacy on the part of clerics.”
The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts shared the information in a letter dated April 19, responding to the English and Welsh bishops’ request for adjustments to canon law concerning clerical sexual abuse.
In the letter, addressed to bishops’ conference president Cardinal Vincent Nichols, it said: “After review of the information and recommendation Your Eminence submitted to this Pontifical Council, I am pleased to inform you that the concerns you have expressed have already been taken into consideration in the revision of Book VI of the 1983 CIC [Code of Canon Law], which is currently in process.”
“In the revised Book VI of the 1983 CIC, crimes against minors are considered under a different title than crimes against the obligations of celibacy on the part of clerics. The revised title will be ‘Crimes against the life, dignity and freedom of man’ and will include a canon that is specific to crimes against minors.”
The letter, received by Nichols on April 23, was signed by the Pontifical Council’s president Archbishop Filippo Iannone and secretary Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta.
The English and Welsh bishops made their request to the Vatican in a letter dated March 15.
The correspondence between the bishops and the Vatican was published on the bishops’ website on May 9. It was included in a 21-page document detailing how the Catholic Church has responded to the seven recommendations of a highly critical independent report on child abuse within the Church in England and Wales.
In the report, published on Nov. 10, 2020, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) urged the bishops to “request that the Holy See redraft the canonical crimes relating to child sexual abuse as crimes against the child.”